Biotech Updates

Virus-induced Gene Silencing in Eggplant

July 6, 2012

Eggplant is an economically important vegetable in many countries that provide ample amount of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. To facilitate the further improvement of the crop for resilience to pest, diseases, and climate change, it is vital that the genomic functions of eggplant be known. However, there are limited effective molecular tools that can be used for functional assays in eggplant..

Scientists from Chinese Academy of Sciences tested the use of virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) in eggplant for studying the crop's genomic functions. They cloned the coding DNA sequence of enzyme phytoene desaturase (PDS) in eggplant and then turned off the PDS gene. This resulted to photo-bleaching in newly-developed leaves a month after agroinoculation. This confirms that VIGS can be used to silence genes in eggplant.

To investigate further if VIGS is a reliable tool for eggplant, the team selected genes Chl H, Su and CLA1 as reporters to elicit VIGS through high-pressure spray method. Inhibition of Chl H and Su led to development of yellow leaves, and the reduction of CLA1 resulted in albino leaves. With these results, it is confirmed that VIGS system is an effective tool for studying the gene functions in eggplant.

Read the abstract at